I hope you enjoyed reading my article last month, or at least found it informative. This month I will concentrate on property letting and management rather than sales, so as to give you a different perspective. There has been enormous change within the industry since I started way back in the mid- 80`s. The introduction of the Housing Act 1988, in January 1989, was the most far reaching since with the introduction of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy it meant that a landlord could regain possession of the property relatively easily. To give you an example, my great-grandfather had some friends move into an empty house in Beccles when they needed somewhere to stay for a few weeks. This was back in 1954 and it was more of a “gentleman`s agreement” than a properly prepared tenancy agreement. Because they continued to pay rent they couldn`t be made to move and we finally got the house back not that many years ago.
I regularly run free advice clinics for landlords and even still today it is amazing how many come to me with incorrect and outdated tenancy agreements and documentation. My advice is, if you want to become a landlord then please take advice first and be careful where you seek this. Your mate down the pub may sound like he knows what he is talking about, but inevitably this will lead to sleepless nights, not just from the beer.
Legislation is continually changing and it is difficult to keep up to date unless you are actively involved. How many of you “private landlords” know that you should have an assessment undertaken for Legionnaire`s Disease before you let, or that your property must have an Energy Performance Certificate and that it must meet at least an “E” rating, or that you must serve additional paperwork regarding the deposit you take? Not doing the first 2 will get you in trouble with the authorities and the last one will make it very difficult for you to get the tenants out when you eventually want to. You have been warned.
I will finish on a true story showing the lighter side to letting property. Many years ago a very well dressed middle aged couple presented themselves in my office asking for a flat for their daughter. I looked at the parents, then looked at the daughter and said “sure, sounds like a fair swap”. Initially I thought the father was going to punch me but instead I had to pick him off the floor he was laughing so much!